By Leeann Betts
Readers—and writers, too, for that matter—often ask me where I get the ideas for my stories. Well, in this case, I wanted to set my story in Colorado so I could enter several state-based writing contests that require a Colorado setting.
As I do with just about every book in this series, I made up a fictional town based on a part of the state I’d recently visited and which I thought readers might like to learn more about. The Grand Mesa/Mesa Verde National Park area on the western slopes of Colorado is a world unto itself. The scenery is spectacular, the weather is iffy, but the people are generally warm-hearted and compassionate.
I also wanted a politically conservative setting, because while not exclusively so, politically conservative folks also tend to be church-goers, and I wanted both Carly and Mike to be slam-dunked into a situation where they had to re-examine their spiritual beliefs. Throughout this series, a little here and a little there, Carly and her husband have been introduced to the Christian faith.
The couple who hosts Carly and Mike on their working vacation are named after very good friends—first names, only. Their last name was drawn from a desire to design a brand that I could draw. A Lazy L, in brand terms, is one that lays horizontally.
The details about the black-footed ferrets are mostly true. Not about the truck accident that dropped several of the critters on the western slope, but they were transported down I-25 into Arizona and New Mexico. At the timing of this story, 2005, they were on the “extinct in the wild” list, although they have since recovered are now on the “endangered” watch list.
Leave a comment, and I will draw randomly for a print copy (US only) or ebook version (winner’s choice) of Missing Deposits.
About Missing Deposits:
Carly looks forward to a vacation when Mike is hired to assist an association of ranchers in western Colorado catalogue their various mineral rights following the discovery of several large deposits. However, Carly soon learns that the real wealth—and the real danger—aren’t below ground. Someone is out to keep a secret bigger and more profitable than gold and copper. And they’re willing to kill for it.
Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Missing Deposits is the 11th title in her cozy mystery series, and together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.
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This year, I didn’t send out Christmas cards. I opened every card that I received with love and gratitude and holiday spirit. I smiled at all the beautiful pictures, and read about others’ adventures. I didn’t reciprocate. I wanted to, sometimes. I thought about it now and again. But life happened, and the cards . . . well, they didn’t.
I didn’t have time to write a newsletter with updates about all the things our family did this year. If I had, I would have written about watching my kids grow up, spending time with my family, and taking on new roles professionally. But all of those things took up all of my free time, so I never had a chance to get them all down on paper.
We didn’t pose for family photos this year. I try to do this every few years, knowing that every day is precious and that I’ll want to look back on this time. Instead, I have a phone full of candid shots that document our travels, our triumphs, and sometimes even our losses. I look at those photos, and the ones on our walls, and my heart swells with love.
I didn’t finish writing my next book. But I attended conferences all over the country and began planning one of my own—my first conference as the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. I’ve done a lot of writing this year, and I know I’ll get to “The End” on the next book, but I’ve taken on a lot of projects so I’ve had to reprioritize. And that’s OK.
I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to this year. But I did get to spend important time with my best friend. She’s been dealt a difficult hand in this life, but she has always been there for me—to love and support me even when things are hard, or I’m an idiot, which happens more often than you might think. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to share that love and support with her. To be with her in times of sadness and joy, knowing that every moment we have together is a gift.
The list of things I didn’t do this year is long. I suppose it would be natural to feel overwhelmed—to regret. But I don’t. I re-think, re-envision, re-imagine. I change. I adapt. But I never regret, because to do so would be to diminish all of the things I havedone this year. All the memories I’ve made. All those precious moments that will carry me through the good and the bad times ahead.
The New Year will be here in just a few days. I’ll turn another year older. And I’ll walk forward into 2020 confidently, knowing that I will make mistakes, but that I will strive to be kind, to be supportive, and to make choices from a place of love. I won’t do all the things I want to do. I won’t see all the people I want to see. And I may not send out Christmas cards (only time will tell). But, I will be there for the people who need me, and I will try to live each day of this New Year with passion, with creativity and with hope.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.